Gameday Guide: Hattiesburg

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By Kristina Domitrovich
Photos by Lindsay Pace Daffron and Southern Miss Athletics

Three tips for M. M. Roberts Stadium:

1. Respond to “Southern Miss” with a loud “To the top!”
2. Be sure to wear black & gold.
3. Before the game starts, visit the rock in the District to check out the week’s opponent.

Non-Negotiables:

Hattiesburg offers no shortage of vibrancy. From New Orleans-style soul food to seas of gold, a game day at Southern Miss is certain to leave you satisfied – if you take full advantage of it. We recommend grabbing a photo by the eagle statue, centered in the middle of the All-American rose garden. While on campus, be sure to tailgate in the District and watch the Eagle Walk, which happens two hours before kickoff. Don’t forget to stroll through downtown, where lights are strung and music echoes down every block.

Where to Rest:

Rich in arts, culture and nature, Hattiesburg hosts dozens of  remarkable B&Bs. For the modernist, the Camellia House offers a two-story estate nestled in quiet north Hattiesburg. Scenic views, a gazebo and a dining room large enough for friends and family to share a meal are staples here. River Ranch, however, describes itself as a “natural retreat,” suited for anyone who considers the outdoors home. Offering several on-site hiking and biking trails, the ranch itself is an authentic log cabin hidden only 8 miles from the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport.  The vintage enthusiast might enjoy The Bay Bed & Breakfast. Not to mention, the foyer, porch and garden are decorated with delicate florals. Settled in the heart of downtown, it’s minutes from eateries, coffee shops and USM’s campus.

Off the Beaten Path:

Influenced by the rhythm and blues of nearby New Orleans, Hattiesburg shares plenty of interesting spaces with visitors. A favorite among locals, T-Bones Records and Cafe delights every sense through fresh coffee, light bites, music, books and art. For those who need solitude, Red Bluff trail does the trick. Often called “Mississippi’s little Grand Canyon,” the trail descends into vivid, red earth, making a three-mile round trip hike suitable for beginners. If hiking isn’t adventurous enough, try a high ropes adventure course at the Hattiesburg Zoo, where you can also eat lunch, take educational tours and admire animals. Only open one weekend a month, the Lucky Rabbit is worth the wait. An antiques store-turned-experience, visitors can watch old films, buy food, enjoy interactive attractions and hunt for vintage items. The store currently offers two “Stranger Things” rooms to explore: the show’s iconic ice cream shop and living room.

Muffins and Mugs:

An excellent judge of Hattiesburg’s character is its wide selection of breakfast hubs and coffee shops. Consider SouthBound Bagel & Coffee Shop, located on a downtown corner. The shop’s walls are soda-fountain green, and natural light fills each corner of the building. New to town, FIKA Swedish Cafe encaptures the diversity of Hattiesburg with its authentic Nordic fare. The food and coffee are designed to intrigue – and shake up – standard American conventions around taste, and to remind us to slow down and relax with our loved ones. If you prefer a strong, Southern breakfast, the Midtowner, just steps from campus, offers pancakes, French toast, hashbrowns and omelettes. If you have time to stop and stare, Mulvi’s Coffee Co. will not disappoint. Decorated in deep blues, greens and golds, the shop carries a classic look and feel.

Mid-day Meals:

In the midst of a gameday’s bustle, lunch should be fun and interesting. Coney Island Cafe, a local staple since 1923, prioritizes strong community, good service and low prices. If you’re extra-hungry, try a chili burger. Otherwise, their classic cheeseburger and curly fries are guaranteed to win you over. If you prefer milkshakes with your burger and fries, though, we recommend Ed’s Burger Joint. Their space is as playful as their menu, which offers everything from buffalo fries to Cap’n Crunch shakes. For something lighter, The Depot takes the cake. Their salads and sandwiches vary widely, but we recommend trying the kale & spinach bowl for lots of greens and a lemon basil vinaigrette.

Evening Provisions:

End your day with the best Hattiesburg has to offer. Locals of every age enjoy Keg & Barrel – especially their truffle oil fries. Don’t forget to order an appetizer, for which the Keg is celebrated. For live music, Blue Jazz Cafe is true to its name. Upstairs provides a mellow bar, while downstairs offers traditional seating. We recommend the shrimp and grits or the chicken and waffles – two meals promised to fuel your soul. Jutamas Thai Restaurant provides the warm spices of Thailand in every dish. Green thai curry is an excellent choice for curry novices, and a tasty Thai iced tea makes a simple, sweet dessert.

A Night on the Town:

Celebrate the joy of game day with a drink. If you’re hoping for a craft beer experience, Southern Prohibition Brewery provides tours, taps and vintage arcade games. The Thirsty Hippo, on the other hand, is a tavern-style bar known for its signature cocktails. For an upscale experience, Front Street Bar sophisticates classic drinks, which you can sip atop a patio overlooking downtown. For beer and whiskey connoisseurs, the Mahogany Bar boasts stunning interior design with down-to-earth fare, like fish tacos and late night breakfast.

 

Home Game Schedule:

Aug. 31 vs. Alcorn State University

Sept. 28 vs. University of Texas at El Paso

Oct. 12 vs. University of North Texas (Homecoming)

Nov. 9 vs. University of Alabama at Birmingham

Nov. 23 vs. Western Kentucky University

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